Competition Rules

NIH Recreation & Welfare Camera Club Intra-Club Competition Rules


    1. Any member of the NIH Camera Club may submit photographs for competition.  Any member who cannot be present at a competition may submit entries by arranging for another NIH Camera Club member to take his/her photographs to the competition.
    2. Entries for competition must adhere to the topic assigned for the competition.  Judges’ decisions on adherence of the image to the topic are final.
    3. Repeated Competition of an Image.
      • General Requirements: A photograph which has received a first, second or third place award in an NIH Camera Club competition may not be entered in another regular NIH Camera Club competition.  Honorable mention award images may be reentered.  No image may be entered in regular competitions more than twice.  Intra-club competition award-winning images may also be entered into the annual “NIH Wide” competition and the annual “Digital/Print of the Year” competition.
      • Two or More Similar Images: If an image has received a first, second or third place award in an NIH Camera Club Competition, then very similar images by the same maker are barred from subsequent monthly NIH Camera Club competitions.

Competition topics

  1. The competition topics will be decided by the Board at the July board meeting.  The topics for the coming year will be finalized and tentative topics for the year after that will be listed.  The lists of topics and the definitions for those for the coming year will be published in the summer newsletter.
  2. For regular competition topics the definitions as listed on the attached Standard Definitions of NIHCC Competition Topics will be used.  If the topic is not on this list, the board will define the topics.  The topic definition will be read by the Secretary at the beginning of each competition.

Competition divisions

  1. Categories (Image type)
    • Monochrome prints
    • Color prints
    • Digital images
  2. Classes
    • Novice
    • Advanced

Note:  A minimum of 4 entries and 2 different makers is required for a competition.  Whenever there are insufficient entries or competitors to have a competition, Novice and Advanced classes will be combined.  Members have the option of withdrawing from the combined competition.

Rules concerning competition of images


  1. A member is not restricted to competing in the same class across image types (categories), except as noted below in number 7.
  2. New members may enter any class they wish.  In fairness to true novices, experienced new members are encouraged to voluntarily compete in the advanced class.
  3. Once a member has competed in the advanced class within an image type, the member may not revert to the novice class for that image type.
  4. Once a novice earns 50 points in a particular image type, he/she must compete in the advanced class in that image type beginning the next club meeting.
  5. A member may compete in each of the image types.  Novice or advanced standing is independent for each category (image type), except as noted below in number 7.
  6. Up to two photographs per category (image type) but no more than six in total may be entered by one member in any monthly competition.
  7. Any member who has achieved Master status (300 total points – see Judging and Scoring number 6b) must compete in the advanced class in all image types (categories).

Category (image type) rules

Monochrome and color prints

  1. Commercially produced prints may be entered. The photos may also be commercially mounted.
  2. Maximum print size is 16×20 inches and minimum print size is 5×7 inches.
  3. All prints must be mounted on rigid board or on mat board not larger than 24 x 30 inches. Prior to mounting, remove excess trim if the photo is printed on paper larger than the image size. The prints need to be securely attached to the mat board (top and bottom) by double sided tape or adhesive spray. If an overmat (window mat) is used, it also must be securely attached (top and bottom) to the photo’s sturdy back mount. There must not be anything on the front and back of the mat that could damage another photo.
  4. All prints entered into competition must have on the reverse side a clearly written label with the maker’s name, photograph’s title, and an arrow pointing to the top of the image.  The photo will be shown as marked. No information may be written on the front of the image.
  5. Photos that become dislodged from the mounting board or the label falls off will be disqualified.
  6. All photos entered in the competition must be recorded on the provided sign in sheets, novice or advanced for each category.   Name and title of the image should be printed clearly. The photos should then be placed in the correct container for novice or advanced in the appropriate category.

Digital images

  1. Image size for each competition must not exceed 1280 pixels in width and 800 pixels in height and should be in jpg format and sRGB color space, or as specified in the NIH R&W Camera Club newsletter. In the event of different specifications, the newsletter will be the correct specifications.
  2. Files will be renamed by the submission software as follows; class~name of maker~title (eg: novice~John Smith~Bird).
  3. For regular competitions, files must be sent by 11:59 PM the Thursday before or as the newsletter indicates for the competition. Entries must be submitted  online via: Competition Submission.

Judging and scoring

  1. Selection of Judges:  The NIH Camera Club Program Chairman selects judges for all competitions.
  2. Procedure:  Prior to the competition, the Program Chair will review the judging guidelines and the scoring system used by the NIH Camera Club with the judge.  The Secretary shall disqualify and remove any entry not conforming to the NIH Competition Rules.  The judge(s) shall reject any entry not conforming to an announced subject and/or technique category.  It is the duty of the Program Chair to instruct the judge(s) in the definition of such a category.
  3. Maker Identification:  The identity of the maker of any photograph should not be made known to the judge(s) until all judging is completed, even if the judge(s) asks.  Silence should be maintained at all times during the judging and there should be no visible or audible reaction to any of the images as they are shown.
  4. Judging: Within each competition class, the best photographs are selected by the judge(s) and are then ranked.  There must be a minimum of 4 entries by at least 2 different makers in order to conduct a competition.  25% of the entries shall receive awards.  The Secretary will inform the judges of the number of awards for each competition category.
  5. Scoring: Within each competition, points are awarded as follows:
    • First Place: 6 points
    • Second Place: 4 points
    • Third Place: 2 points      
    • Honorable Mention: 1 point
  6. Point Accumulation:
    (a) Points are accumulated in each separate category/class.  This total is used to determine the member’s class.
    (b) Points are accumulated over all categories/classes and over time.  These points are used in awarding plaques and star merit awards and for determining “Master” status.
  7. Tallying and Posting: After each competition, points for that competition and cumulative points for the year for each member are tallied and recorded by the Secretary.  Cumulative points are published in the June issue of the NIH Camera Club Newsletter.

Print of the year/digital image of the year competition (PDOFTYC)

  1. Eligible Images: Any (and only) photographs which have been shown in one of the intra-club competitions or the NIH Wide Photography Competition during the current NIH Camera Club year are eligible for the current year’s competition.  Up to two photographs per image type (category), with a maximum of six entries for the competition, may be entered by each member.
  2. Categories:
    • Black & white prints
    • Color prints
    • Digital images
  3. There are no classes for this competition.
  4. Judging: Judging is done by members, using a numerical rating system, at the June meeting.  Winners are then announced and the images shown.  No points are awarded to the winners of this competition.


Annual Winners

  1. For each competition category/class, three awards (First, Second and Third Place) shall be given at the year-end meeting.  The person awarded first place will be designated the Photographer of the Year for that category/class.
  2. The number of points earned in each separate category/class in a particular year is used to determine the winners each year.  Points earned in monthly competitions plus all points earned as an NIH R&W Camera Club entrant in other NIH R&W Camera Club endorsed competitions will be included.

Star Merit Awards

  1. For 50 total accumulated points in any category/class over any time period, a member of the NIH Camera Club in good standing shall be awarded an engraved Star Merit Award Plaque.  For each additional 50 points earned (up to a maximum of 250 points) another star is added to the plaque.  Upon reaching 300 accumulated points, a member shall be known as a Master Photographer and be awarded an engraved Master of Photography Plaque.
  2. Once Master status is achieved the member must compete in the Advanced class in all image types.
  3. The NIH Camera Club Secretary shall maintain records necessary for the administration of Stars and Plaques.

 Standard Definitions of NIHCC Competition Topics

Pictorial:  Open.  Any subject, especially subjects that do not qualify in other subject definitions.  NO image will be excluded from this category.

Nature:  Pictures that portray different kinds of various aspects of natural plant and animal life in a living state, that illustrate the natural features of land and sea or that reveal certain natural phenomena, such as cloud formations, light refractions (sunsets, auroras, etc.), precipitation, frost, fire, but which do not show the hand of man, such as buildings, fences, beer cans, etc.  Domestic plants or animals may be included provided they do not show the hand of man.

Portraiture:  People or animals, full-length or close-up, including nudes and groups where the subjects rather than the activity are the main interest.

Photojournalism:  Storytelling pictures or people doing things where the activity itself is the theme.

Abstract:  Blends of color, texture, shape, form, and light to create a design-patterned image.

Experimental: Images that utilize camera and/or post-processing manipulations to achieve unreality.

Architectural:  Buildings, interiors, ruins, bridges, or anything where man-made structures are the principle interest.

Close-up: Images that result from the use of close-up lenses, macro lenses, etc., where the magnification of the subject exceeds that obtained with a standard lens at minimum focusing distance.

Still Life: Images of inanimate subjects in a static state.


For a comprehensive list of competition topic definitions and list of months the topics were used, please refer to the NIH R&W Camera Club Competition Topic Definitions document.

Revised May 10, 2015